Looking and feeling young is what everyone wants but it is more important to keep the heart young. It is natural that the age of people affects the heart that also grows old and often the outward looks could defy the condition and age of the heart. As the heart keeps aging, the risks of heart attack increases. Therefore, do not be carried away by the outward looks of people that can be deceptive with respect to the age and condition of the heart. Someone who looks hale and hearty might actually have a weak heart condition. You must keep monitoring the age of the heart to ensure that the heart does not let you down. The concept of heart age depends on evaluating the risks of having a heart attack. But is it possible to control the heart age?
The reality is that certain things are beyond your control that you cannot change how much you might want. You cannot have a say about your gender determined by birth as males have higher risks of heart disease than females at least up to the age of 55 years. You have to accept the fact that in case you have a family history of cardiovascular diseases you are likely to inherit some of it. Indeed, there are some other factors well within your control. By knowing the direct link between lifestyle and heart condition, you should be able to maintain a healthy heart. Making lifestyle changes and giving up alcohol and smoking helps to improve heart health just as exercise and a balanced diet help to keep the heart healthy.
Monitor your health
However, some hidden factors do not show any symptoms but increase the risks. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol do not show any symptoms of affecting the heart but keeps damaging it thereby increasing its age faster. High blood pressure is a silent killer, and it is necessary to monitor blood pressure regularly besides going for regular health checkup just as you cross the age of 40 years which should continue as long as you can at least until you attain 74 years. While General Practitioners can do such checkup every five years, the frequency becomes yearly once people attain 75 years. The risk of heart diseases increases with age unless there are some specific diseases or hereditary and genetic trends that can cause heart problems at a younger age which is why the checkup period is 5 years for younger people. In case there is some family history of cardiovascular disease annual checkup is necessary.
About 33% of cardiovascular diseases have links to the five most prominent factors – high blood pressure, alcohol, smoking, obesity, and high cholesterol. Smoking is most harmful to heart health with obesity being slightly less harmful than the rest. A poor diet rich on junk food and low vegetable and fruit intake is responsible for increasing heart risks that compounds more with a sedentary lifestyle and minimal physical activities.
Smokers should give up smoking immediately if they want to care for their heart. Smoking is very addictive due to the nicotine present in tobacco, and the addiction is so intense that it can be more than what people experience with marijuana. Well, it might be hard to quit smoking, but if you are committed to looking after your heart and overall health, you have to achieve it by any means. It is better to seek some psychological help that makes it easy to overcome the addiction with time. You can also take some prescribed drugs that help to reduce cravings. To get medicines at cheaper rates, you can avail high discounts when buying medicines by using coupons available from pharmaquotes.com. Undergoing nicotine replacement therapy is another option.
Keep blood pressure down
If blood pressure is consistently hovering around 140/90, it shows that the person is suffering from hypertension and has to do something to bring it down as close as possible to the average level of 120/80. Aging and intake of food containing more salt increase blood pressure. Alcohol, obesity and less physical exercise also push up blood pressure. Even teetotalers and slim persons can have high blood pressure if it exists in the family. To maintain blood pressure within the healthy range, have a healthy and balanced diet and exercise regularly while taking medications under medical supervision if needed.
Regular exercise is good for the heart
To lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by almost a third, experts advise to exercise and indulge in physical activities for at least 150 minutes or two and a half hours a week. If any activity increases the heart rate and breathing rate and makes you feel warmer it resembles moderate activity. If any activity does not allow you to talk without pausing for breath, it is indicative of vigorous activity. The latter type is more effective than exercising leisurely, and you must seek the right advice to select a routine for vigorous exercise that suits your health and age. Incidentally, there are no downsides of exercising as long as your health permits.
Increase good cholesterol and reduce bad cholesterol
The body generates cholesterol in the liver that is even available from food like dairy products and meat. Cholesterol consists of two types – good cholesterol are HDL or high-density lipoprotein that protects the heart and arteries, and bad cholesterol is made up of LDL or low-density lipoprotein that is harmful to health as it can clog arteries. Total cholesterol should not exceed 5mmol/liter, and the bad cholesterol or LDL should maximum be within 3mmol/liter. To work out the overall risk score, you have to take into account the other risk factors in addition to the level of cholesterol. To reduce cholesterol start exercising and take the proper cholesterol-free diet.
Heart age often defies logic because people with a younger heart can experience heart attacks. While trying to maintain a young heart do not be overconfident by looking at the scores only. Scores can never predict how the heart will behave.